The topic of immunizations is a heated one, to say the very least, but pediatricians and doctors recommend them for a good reason: they prevent a potentially fatal illness. And it is the current debate on whether or not immunizations are safe and ethical that may be responsible for the highest cases of measles in the United States since 1996.
Back in 1996, 508 cases of measles were reported. Since that time, only about 50 to 60 cases have been reported annually. Then, last year, in 2011, the numbers more than quadrupled, reaching a total of 222 reported cases in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Seventeen measles outbreaks occurred in 2011; to be declared an outbreak, three or more cases must be reported in a particular time or place. This, too, resulted in an all-time high for measles over the last decade – on average, only 2 to 10 outbreaks have occurred since 2000.
According to the authors of the recent report, the majority of those cases were reported by individuals that had travelled overseas. They added that vaccination rates throughout various parts of the world, particularly Europe, have reached an all-time low over the last decade and a half, and that the decreased immunizations have contributed to the rise in measles cases in the United States.
Approximately two-thirds of Americans infected had not received a measles vaccination and one-third of the cases had to be hospitalized. Thankfully, none of them resulted in death.
Even if you never travel overseas, denying yourself or your child of immunizations can place you at risk, should an outbreak occur in your area. Measles can lead to serious illness and death, especially in young children. If you are concerned about the safety of measles vaccinations, please talk to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.
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